In England, after the termination of this war, many German military works of great value were translated and published; the battle fields in France were visited and described; every movement of both armies, strategical and tactical, was studied. All this tended to draw our attention to the extended use of the cavalry arm in future campaigns, and the shortcomings of our own system were carefully scrutinized. The movements of our drill book were simplified, the careful training of our men in shooting was more fully recognized, and the teaching of advanced cavalry duties, reconnaissance, outpost and dismounted work, were gone into most thoroughly - in such a manner that I may confidently appeal to those officers who have the best opportunities of forming an opinion, whether our cavalry does not bear comparison now with what is being done in other armies, and in these matters is advancing in a satisfactory manner. While all this good work has been going on (and I would be the last to say one word that might seem to depreciate its value) we may perhaps have permitted the action of cavalry on the field of battle to escape from sufficient notice.

It is for this reason I will ask your permission to bring before you this subject, believing that the opinions of all branches of the service being brought to bear upon it, considerable advantage maybe obtained. It will be my endeavor to show, not by my own arguments, but by quotations from others, that cavalry still has an important part to take on the battle field, and far from its duties ending when armies come in contact, that it is still reserved to them, as has been the case before, to decide, perhaps by only one charge, the issue of a whole campaign. Prince Kraft in his letters on cavalry says: "The battle of Mars-la-Tour, won by the bold employment of cavalry, made possible the blockade of Metz, and afterward the surrender of the whole of Bazaine's army. So it may be said, without exaggeration, that the charge of Bredow's six squadrons on that day was the turning point of the Franco-German campaign."

Colonel Home, in his "Précis of Modern Tactics," says: "The action of cavalry on the actual battle field is by no means a thing of the past. The use of cavalry with skill at the right moment and in the right numbers has always been considered one of the most difficult problems in war. Modern arms have increased this difficulty manifold, but to say the day of cavalry on the field of battle is past is merely another way of saying that the knowledge of how it should be used is wanting." Cavalry is apportioned to an army in two capacities: (1) Divisional cavalry, that is (if possible) a regiment, or as many squadrons as can be spared, attached to each infantry division, acting under the orders of the general of the division. (2) The cavalry division, that is, a large body of cavalry composed of several brigades, an independent body having its own commander. On the march the divisional cavalry covers the head and flanks of its own division: on the field of battle it will be as near as possible to its division, in the most sheltered spot that can be found; in the early part of the battle it would be kept as much in reserve as possible, écheloned in rear of one flank of its own infantry.

It would remain there until the artillery and musketry had effected their work, and the enemy's flanks had become thinned and shaken. Then, when his infantry become tired and exhausted, under cover of the smoke, the cavalry may be further advanced.

Prince Kraft says: "At Sedan the divisional cavalry were employed during the battle, charging by single squadrons, patrolling and reconnoitering to obtain information of the enemy and the ground. Every infantry body is accompanied by patrols, however small." An instance of the too early employment of cavalry in a battle occurred at Waterloo, when Napoleon at the commencement launched his cavalry into the fight. The result was that although it far outnumbered the English at first, it became so reduced, depressed, and worn out, that it was unable afterward to offer full resistance to the British squadrons, who were comparatively fresh. Wellington, on the contrary, after his first successes, kept his cavalry, as much as possible, in reserve. The field of battle itself shows the proper situation of cavalry, but the divisional cavalry on the defensive side must always be at hand to fall upon the flanks of the enemy's infantry when in extended order, while that of the attacking side must be equally at hand to prevent the flanks of its own infantry being so attacked.

In discussing the action of divisional cavalry, the most advantageous time for its assisting in the combat must be considered. At what moment, if any, can infantry be attacked by cavalry? When opposed to a force acting on the defensive, divisional cavalry has its operations limited, and probably in the earlier part of an engagement, confined to watching, and, if possible, guarding the flanks of its own attacking infantry from surprise. It is the cavalry on the defenders' side that has the greatest opportunities. In both cases, however, a rule must be made not to attack infantry when it has taken up a favorable position, or before its ranks have been shaken by artillery or musketry. Prince Kraft, in speaking of Mars-la-Tour, says: "This same day took place a series of cavalry charges of greater or less importance, which all showed practically to the cavalry the limits of their effective action against infantry. The advancing infantry were brought to a stand, infantry who gave way were ridden down, but where the cavalry attacked infantry intact, the cavalry were unable to prevail."

The precision of modern fire arms has necessitated great changes in infantry tactics. To advance against the murderous fire of the present rifle, infantry is compelled to adopt scattered formations in small lines, and to move forward with sudden rushes. All this lends itself to the attacks of an active cavalry. When these infantry attacks take place, it may be presumed that they have already been under arms some hours, have marched some distance, and been exposed to considerable loss from artillery and musketry fire. Their advance in extended formation will have commenced at about 1,000 yards, or earlier. By this time the squadrons opposing them will have been brought to a more advanced position, to the nearest point to their flank where cover is afforded, and to carry this out successfully requires skillful handling. Files must be extended, and short rushes made with small bodies, say half a troop if over exposed ground, into sheltered places. It is true that cavalry cannot hide themselves over exposed ground as infantry can, but they have one advantage that nothing can deprive them of - rapidity of motion; and the distance that would take them say 10 seconds to traverse, viz., 150 yards, would take infantry a minute.